Charging for content

How publishers are charging for online content or consumption and implementing paywalls and subscription services

Alastair Bruce @ajbruce abruce@microsoft.com

Types of paywalls
• Broadly 3 types of paywalls:
– Metered access (users have access to a limited number of free articles. Once limit is reached, users have to register and/or subscribe) – Freemium (Some content is free, some is subscription. Free content can be whole articles or can be teaser text) – 100% subscription (no content at all is viewable without sub)
Metered Fr ee - mium

100 % Sub

• Subscriptions sometimes come with

Member benefits

– Member/Subscription benefits (added incentives to purchase provided by publisher). Sometimes it is only membership that is sold not the content itself. Sometimes an experience is paid for not the content itself – Bundling (added incentives to purchase provided by third party) – Micropayments (usually only a micropayment Alastair Charging for Content option if alreadycom larger10/02/10 subscription option) @ajbruce abruce@microsoft . a

Bundling

Micropayments

Bruce

  FT

Metered Access ü               ü   ü                 ü   2011                  

Freemium   ü ü ü ü ü ü ü   ü   ü ü ü   ü ü ü ü   ü             ü Coming   ü ü ü ü

100% subscription                             ü                                      

Me m be r Be n ef i ts         ü   ü           ü                   ü ü                  

B u n d l ing                         ü       ü                                  

Micropayment Other s Rumoured           ü       ü   ü                                       Rumoured Rumoured                                           ü     ü ü ü              

Who’s doing what?

WSJ Economist Which? ESPN Nature NMA Wanderlust Variety Science New Scientist Lancet Ars Technica Gigaom Macjournals LWN Newsday Northumberland Gazette Worksop Guardian SouthCoastToday Spectator New York Times Times Guardian Miami Herald The Sun The Telegraph Globe and Mail Le Figaro Le Monde Arkansas Online

Berliner Morgenpost  

Charging for Content @ajbruce

Hamburger Abendblatt Harper's

   

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

 

Alastair Bruce

Who’s doing what?
Major newspapers
FT WSJ New York Times Times Guardian Miami Herald The Sun The Telegraph Globe and Mail Le Figaro Le Monde
2011 Metered AccessFreemium 100% subscription Member Benefits Bundling Micropayments Rumoured Other

Coming soon

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Who’s doing what?
Local news
Newsday Northumberland Gazette Worksop Guardian SouthCoast Today Arkansas Online Berliner Morgenpost Hamburger Abendblatt
Metered Access reemium F 100% subscription Member Benefits Bundling Micropayments Other

Broadcasters
ESPN

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Who’s doing what?
Specialist publications
Metered Access Freemium 100% subscription Member Benefits Bundling Micropayments Other

Variety Science Lancet Ars Technica Gigaom Macjournals LWN Which? NMA Nature

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Who’s doing what?
Consumer magazines
Metered Access Freemium 100% subscription Member Benefits Bundling Micropayments Other

Wanderlust Economist New Scientist Spectator Harper’s

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

How publishers are charging for content online – Part 1
Most publishers who charge for content consumption use one of two models. Either they publish some free content and some content which has to be paid for (the Freemium model used by most, including the Wall Street Journal), or they impose a limit on the amount of free content that can be consumed and anything above this limit has to be paid for (Metered access, the best known example of which is the FT) 2. The freemium model is dominant but the metered access model (the FT) appears to be gaining ground in that it is being used by a higher proportion of new entrants than it has been. The NYT has said it will adopt this model from 2011. NewsCorp used this model for SouthCoastToday, which went behind a paywall in Jan 2010, rather than the model used for the WSJ. 3. The metered model usually requires registration before subscription which gives access to more free content 4. Freemium ranges from sites where the majority of content is free to those where everything is paid for but there are a few lines of teaser text to each article. The premium content is usually that which is unique to the publication (like Which’s ratings, hyperlocal news, WSJ’s industry analysis. Other examples of where the freemium model is used, but beyond the scope of this examination, are Spotify and Flickr) 5. The Johnston experimental model (see Worksop Guardian) where the reader gets one paragraph then is urged to buy a copy of the paper is a variation on the freemium model 6. Subscriptions may be sold with added incentives, whether in the form of other benefits from the publisher or from a third party (such as faster internet access or a complementary product) 7. Many publishers recognise that the content experience is often as important as the content itself. The Guardian’s iPhone app costs £2.39 but the content readers access through it is free. Membership clubs that give discounts, exclusive offers, event invitations etc also fall into this category. Arguably those sites that offer standalone premium sites as a way of Content Charging for indicating exclusivity fall into this category, as do those who bill content as “market Bruce Alastair research”. @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 1.

H o w p u b l sh e rs a re ch a rg i g fo r co n te n t o n l n e i n i – Part 2
9. 10. 11. 12. 13. There are not many 100% subscription models where readers can’t access anything at all without paying The Miami Herald is the only publisher of its type I can find that asks for donations – a model typically followed by sites and organizations like Wikipedia There are fewer examples of paywalls in use where there is only an online outlet Most blend online and print subscriptions – one drives the other. Johnston press’ experiment where you’re encouraged to buy paper is a different blend. Subscribers to print publications usually get access to premium online content included with their print subscription. Only in a (very) few cases do print subscribers have to pay extra to consume online content. Conversely online only subscribers (where this is an option) almost always have to pay more to get the printed product Most specialist publications, like Science, Nature etc seem to have a paywall already Local publications, arguably those who have the most to lose by not trying pay walls, seem to be implementing them quickly, though there is no obvious movement from Northcliffe/DMGT on paywalls apart from thisismoney charging for stock tips. Subscription on many sites is surprisingly undersold There is often a variety of subscription options and pricing points Rates are fairly similar with specialist journals being most expensive Micropayments tend to be more common with specialist journals or magazines like Lancet and Nature. The FT is launching day passes in 2010 with pay-per-article later on. Arkansas Online (no slide in this study) sells a day pass. Most paid-for content still comes with ads. A few are selling “no ads” as a reason to subscribe. Some publishers, notably the Guardian, are vociferously anti-paywall for their own publications (while recognising they might work for others) See slides 13-51 for specific examples

14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21.

22. • Charging for Content

@ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

What happens in search engines when users search for subscription content? And Social media?

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Search results, social media and paywalls
1. In common with free content, subscription content varies in its ease of discoverability in search engines and in how well formed the results are 2. Where freemium sites have done their seo effectively, and assuming subscription content is not delisted from search engines, then they won’t lose search referrals since the headline and first couple of lines (what appears in search results) are still free. 3. Where clicks will fall off is in the examples from the Northumberland Gazette, the Economist, Nature, and CrainsDetroit.com where the subscription wall gets in the way of effective SEO. 4. Bounce rate is currently a problem for publishers and most will find it even more difficult to convert casual users to loyal ones who land on premium content. Many will use the back button, especially if there are several competing results, some of which are free. 5. Some results in search engines for subscription content give no indication content must be paid for and the usual headline and two lines of text are returned. Others are clear that the content is behind a paywall. 6. With some sites (FT), there is a way around the subscription wall (this will be modified in Q2). Pasting a headline of a paywalled article into Google means readers can read as many articles as they like and are not limited by paywalls or the first-click-free scheme. 7. Premium content will only be tweeted, Dugg, facebooked etc by subscribers and they might be tempted to do less of this if they know only a few will be able to Charging for Content WSJ however claim social media can still be a valuable traffic driver Bruce Alastair consume it. @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Appendix: Site examples

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Micropayments?

FT.com

Metered

• •

• •

• • • • •

Jan 2010: unregistered access allows users one free article (was 2) per month. Registration allows 10 free. Std subscription £3.29 a week and Premium online is £4.99 (up from £3.99 in 2009) and premium + newspaper delivery is £10.02 (prices per week). Details here and here 1.6 million registered users globally (Oct 2009), 121,000 of whom pay for content Considering adding micropayments. Bringing in a day pass this year with plans to introduce charging per article but not until the technology is correct First introduced a pay barrier in 2002 but switched to current model in 2007 Number of registered users has risen from “almost zero” in 2007 to 400,000 in 2008 to 1.3m in 2009 (Wired) or 1.6m (CampaignLive.co.uk). Note the cutting of free access and increase in subscription rates in 2010. According to the editor 2010 likely to be the year content revenue overtakes ad revenue (total daily paid-for circulation figure is 563k – all forms of delivery) The screenshot shows what users see if they have used up their free allocation – no extra text at all, just the teaser and headline they clicked on. Clicking on articles from ft.com brings up the Registration notice but pasting the headline into Google then clicking on the result allows me to read the whole article. Mobile app works on the same tiered model

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

WSJ (Europe)
• Mixture of free and premium content – approx 50/50 • Online subscription $1.99 a week or online and print is £102 for a year (as of 12 Jan). Rates here. • Promoted via little ads and key symbols • User gets 3 paragraphs then subscribe link
Charging for Content @ajbruce

Freemium

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Economist
• Some subscription only articles but most is free • Reader is given a few lines of teaser text • Registration gives 14-day access to subscriber content with no obligation to subscribe • Digital only subscription $95 • Print subscription (with access to digital) - £102 • Registration/subscription inducements very textheavy
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Freemium

Alastair Bruce

Which?
200k subscribers paying £75 a year each, according to the former editor. Feature and price comparison available for free, users have to subscribe to that content which is unique and key to their search, such as Best Buys, Don’t Buys and Highest Rated. One month trial for £1
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Freemium

Alastair Bruce

Member benefits

ESPN Insider

Freemium

• From $2.50 a month • Subscriber gets exclusive video, extra reportage, blogs tools • Subscriber also gets access to new things first (Beta access) and invitations to events. Subscription not just about content, about experience and exclusivity • Gives you about 4 paragraphs of teaser • ESPN Insider is standalone site and is linked to from main ESPN site (mainly through headlines)

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Micropayments

Nature

Freemium

• Mixture of free and subscription content (as visible on homepage) • You can buy individual articles or subscribe • Articles start at $8 • One paragraph as teaser • Rates for online only access and articles • Rates for print + online subs
Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Freemium

NMA

• Mixture of free and subscription only • Get first para as teaser • Only one sub offer (it’s the full subscription or nothing for 1, 2 or 3 years • Discounted rates to events • benefits Member £99 for a year • Has an Charging for Content iPhone app
@ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Wanderlust

Freemium

• Distinctive content, such as trip planners to destinations are behind the sub wall • Readers can subscribe to just a digital version of the mag more cheaply than the print version

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Variety

Metered

• Follows the FT model: two articles, columns, photos or videos free per month, and three more by registering. • If you click on an article from a search engine you do get the sub barrier, unlike with FT articles.

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

More print-based publications
• Science
Micropayments Freemium

– Most content is premium. – Subscribe or pay per article – As with Nature you get online and print subscriptions

• New Scientist
– Similar model to FT. Can read 6 articles per month, registration gives access to another 9, then subscription is unlimited access

Metered

• Lancet

Freemium

– Print and online or online only subscriptions – Readers can pay per article Micropayments – Readers get a summary of the findings Charging for Content Alastair then a subscription link /02/10 @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10

Bruce

Member benefits

Ars Technica

Freemium

Charging for Content @ajbruce

Bundling • Premium version for $50 a year • Membership benefits as well as extra content • Banner-free browsing, technical improvements • Currently offering a subscription to a complimentary and noncompetitive magazine (Wired)
abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Gigaom
• Gigaom offers Gigaom Pro - what it bills as “insider analyst research and commentary” for $79 a year • It’s what others might call premium content billed as essential research • Gigaom Pro is a standalone site also promoted from the Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com main site

Freemium

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Some other web-only publications
• Macjournals
100 % Sub

– delivered as an ad-free newsletter daily or weekly for $39.95 and $14.95 a month respectively

• LWN
– Offers a “user decides what to pay” option – the starving hacker Freemium rate

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Bundling

Newsday.com

Freemium

• • • • • • •

• •

Local news, high school sport scores etc from $5 a week for .com subscription only (relatively high) Access to site free if subscribe to print Only a few lines accessible without registering No register only option – payment needed Launched in October 2009 Search results – get regular results with headline and a couple of lines of teaser They’re also bundling a faster broadband subscription service with the content subscription as an extra option. Broadband provided by division of the same company Web traffic dropped by 21% after paywall As of late January they had acquired only 35 subscribers. Caveat: “Anyone who has a newspaper subscription is allowed free access; anyone who has Optimum Cable, which is owned by the Dolans and Cablevision, also gets it free. Newsday representatives claim that 75 percent of Long Island either has a subscription or Optimum Cable.”
Alastair Bruce

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Johnston press

Freemium

• In November 2009 began a small scale trial involving several local papers. • Two different types of model being tested.
– Subscription: Northumberland Gazette, Whitby Gazette, Southern Reporter – Encouraging purchase of paper: Worksop Guardian, Ripley & Heanor News, Carrick Gazette

• Both are freemium but with one offering online sub and the other encouraging Bruce Charging for Content Alastair
@ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

• All the major news is premium • 2+ paragraphs of teaser • You have to register, then subscribe – can’t do it in one. • Only one subscription option – 3 months for £5 (presumably because it’s a Charging for Content trial) abruce@microsoft .com @ajbruce

Northumberland Gazette (Johnston)
Freemium

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Freemium

Worksop Guardian

• Homepage contains no obvious indication that the content will not be available online • Text of articles gives about one para of teaser followed by an inducement to purchase the paper: “For a full report on this and all the latest local news, sport and leisure, make sure you get your copy of the Worksop Guardian now on sale on Thursday afternoon.” • This appears even on archive content where the full Charging for Content story won’t be in next Thursday’s @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

SouthCoastToday.com
• • • • Combination of metered access and freemium (some is always free) Launched Jan 12, 2010 (along with RecordNet.com) $4.60 a week for access to everything, inc paper. $3.37 for online access What’s free and what isn’t. A lot of what’s behind the wall is the really local stuff – what you would expect not a lot of people do (high school scores etc) Similar model to FT (monthly, the first 3 local articles consumed do not require any registration and with registration up to 10 articles can be viewed The free content consists of wire sources i.e. AP, user generated content and blogs; what most would consider commodity or near commodity content widely available.

Metered

• •

Freemium Advertised the move well in advance

Charging for Content DowJones) @ajbruce

Owned by NewsCorp (part of

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Spectator
• Content usually behind a paywall ( as of Sep 2009) but while compiling this report, the Spectator decided: “One of the joys of living in

Freemium

Britain is watching the country fall apart when some snow falls. Trucks laden with your copies of The Spectator are, alas, no exception to this ­ and we gather that many of our readers could face delays before receiving their magazines. So we have decided to put the whole magazine online this week (7 January - 14 January)  ­ making it free to everyone, not just our subscribers. It's no substitute for the whole thing, I know, and can only apologise as our trucks and postmen battle through the snow.”

• Iphone app (see slide 44 on iphone apps) • Offers postal subs, online subs, a digital version and a version to downloadAlastair Bruce to Charging for Content
@ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

The Globe and Mail

Freemium

• Subscriptions to print and online handled separately. • Subscribers to print version have to pay extra to access the online archive. $15.95 a month gives access to 100 archived articles (going back to 2000), a financial site and the e-edition of the paper.
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Harper’s
• A print subscription gives access to the online archive

Freemium

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Micropayments

Arkansas Online

Freemium

• Registration allows user comments and participation • 99c buys a day pass • Print subscription entitles subscriber to online sub • ArkansasOnline Membership does not include access to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette archives, which charges per story for articles more than seven days old
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Berliner Morgenpost , Hamburger Abendblatt
• Access to all content on morgenpost.de costs €4.95 (£4.32/$6.79) per month. A premium subscription to abendblatt.de costs €7.95 (£6.93/$10.90) per month. Abendblatt.de has a mixture of free and premium content: it appears it charges extra for content specific to Freemium the Hamburg region, while making national news free. Subscriptions for both are renewed on a monthly basis. Micropayments? From PaidContent • Parent company, Axel Springer, wants Charging for Content to introduce pay-per-article fees? Alastair Bruce @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Le Figaro (and other French publications)
• Monday 15 Feb launch • L’Express later in the year • Le Figaro delayed because of the cost of implementing the paywall (little attention seems to have been paid in the media to the extra costs paywalls incur for publications) • LeF: €8pcm for articles from NYT, social networking, archive; €15pcm for a business subscription. News remains Freemium free. • Le Monde has a pay wall around premium content on 10/02/10site. €6pcm Bruce its Charging for Content Alastair @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com

Other
• The Witness, a South African regional daily, charges R283 for 3 months’ access (around £12 – expensive by SA stds). Has under 21k daily sales but backed by Media24.

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Coming soon: NewsCorp
From Roy Greenslade blog in November 09 “a Daily Telegraph reporter, who simply asked for an update on Murdoch's previous announcement that News Corporation's news sites would start charging for content by the end of this fiscal year (i.e., June 2010). Murdoch replied: "No. We are working very, very hard at this but I wouldn't promise that we're going to meet that date. I'm not prepared to comment on that all. It's a work in progress. There's a huge amount of work going on, not just with our sites, but with other people like your company.“

• A number of NC owned sites (SouthCoast, WSJ) are already behind paywalls so look to these for clues as to Sun, Times strategy. WSJ is premium but metered model adopted for SouthCoast. Charging for Content Alastair
@ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Bruce

Coming soon: New York Times
• The NYT will start charging from 2011 using a metered system. Details on number of free articles and rates not yet available, except that the reader will pay a “flat fee for unlimited access”. • Subscribers to the print newspaper, even those who subscribe only to the Sunday paper, will receive full access to the site without any additional charge. • Readers will be able to read individual articles through search engines without charge. After that first article, though, clicking on subsequent ones will count toward the monthly limit • The metered payment system is being built internally • Currently actively driving registrations in preparation for subscription • Other ways of generating revenue include Knowledge network - Adult education courses • Electronic version of the Times (weekly) for $3.45 a Metered? week • ChargingSubscribe to crosswords and sudoku for Content Alastair Bruce
@ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Coming soon: Hulu?
• Likely to go behind sub wall. No clarity on when, but possibly “as early as 2010” according to News Corp’s (who jointly own Hulu) president and COO – announced Oct 2009. • More info on rumours from Mashable and RWW and Digital Spy •
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Coming soon: Other
• The Daily Record in Pennsylvania and the Enterprise-Record in California will start charging in May.  • Daily Despatch and the Mail & Guardian in South Africa have indicated they will start charging

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Appendix: Other ways of generating revenue
And of preparing to generate revenue
(excluding display, contextual and classified ads, comparison services and merchandising of a third party’s products)
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Other ways of generating revenue The Scotsman
– Conferences – Buy photos

• •

Scientific American
– Digital version of mag available

National Geographic
– Merchandising: sales of DVDs and other NG stuff – National Geographic Society

• •

Slashdot
– View pages without seeing ads

Spotify
– iPhone app – Premium for £9.99 a month – Other membership benefits

• •

Naxos
– Pay to listen to catalogue of classical music

Bloomberg and Reuters
– Professional services
abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Charging for Content  @ajbruce

Christian Science Monitor
• Subscriptions to electronic and print versions of the mags and daily briefings • Content is free on the website but they try and upsell

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Miami Herald
• Asks for donations to support news coverage – bottom right of articles • Doesn’t suggest amount

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Washington Post
• Has a points scheme (PostPoints) which could be useful when paywalls come • Won’t let you read and participate without registering • Registration allows Review movies, books, and restaurants • Probably driving up registrations to have a strong base when paywall time comes


Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Telegraph
• Subscribe to e-paper • Clued Up – subscribe to play puzzles, crosswords etc, from £2.99 a month •

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Times

Member benefits

• E-paper • Crossword club - £25 a year • Currently advertising Times+ heavily, which is a membership club. Receive offers and other benefits. Guardian considering same.

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

The Sun
• 2010 Page 3 calendar • Page 3 scores on your mobile - £1.50 a week • Mystic Meg on your mobile

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Guardian

Member benefits?

• iPhone App – charges £2.39 but content free once app is downloaded • Almost 70k downloads in first month. Assuming all were paid for and Apple takes 30% then this is revenue of £115k • Proposed Readers’ club • Has ruled out a paywall, with the editor, Alan Rusbridger, saying they’re not a one-size-fits-all policy and will “remove the industry from the digital Charging for Content Alastair Bruce revolution.” @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10

Some iPhone Apps
Guardian - £2.39 Who wants to be a millionaire – £2.99 The Moron test – 59p Monopoly – £2.99 Jamie’s 20 minute meals £2.99 Tip converter – £1.19 Currency converter – 59p Spectator - 59p to download plus 59p a week for access to the magazine or £2.39 a month • BILD and DIE WELT • • • • • • • •
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Appendix: Search and social examples

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

choice in search results between one that is effectively SEO-ed(and free) – the 2nd result and one that is imperfectly rendered. • If a user clicks on the first result they end up on the site on the right. That result is likely to lead to the user clicking back to the results and clicking on the 2nd result

Search results: Crain’s Detroituser is offered a This is an example of where a

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Search results: WSJ
• Here a search result with headline and description (the first two lines of the story) has a better chance of attracting a click and a subscription than the Crain’s Detroit example

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Search results: Economist
• Here the page title reduces the clickworthiness of the result • On the Economist page having the first text as subscription text rather than content may turn some users off

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Search results: Northumberland Gazette
• The first result will be less effective in garnering clicks • The page a user lands on has quite an intrusive subscription message so may turn users off. The counter-argument though is that the message may get more eyeballs and so more clicks.

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Search results: FT
• Clicking on articles from ft.com brings up the Registration notice but pasting the headline into Google then clicking on the result allows me to read the whole article (screenshot on right).

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Search results: Nature
• The headline is fine but without the page description this result won’t get as many clicks

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Paywalled content on social sites
• • This tweet below goes to a page without any content on it. This is unlikely to lead to more subscriptions for Crain’s Detroit, though if the social link comes from a trusted user then users are more likely to be inclined to explore further But if a user knows content is behind a wall and others are unlikely to be able to read something then this might cause less dissemination of the content A result with at least some content on the page is likely to be more effective in driving new users and subscriptions AT the time of writing Google’s Buzz allows sharing of paywalled content

• •

Charging for Content @ajbruce

abruce@microsoft .com

10/02/10

Alastair Bruce

Notes
• Alastair Bruce is an employee of Microsoft Corporation. The opinions expressed here are his and not necessarily those of Microsoft. • The survey was conducted between December 2009 and February 2010. • Please contact the author with any queries
Charging for Content @ajbruce abruce@microsoft .com 10/02/10 Alastair Bruce

Alastair Bruce @ajbruce abruce@microsoft.com
10/02/10

Charging for content
How publishers are charging for online content or consumption and implementing paywalls and